22 Dec 2011

Merry Christmas to all! Digital story of the Nativity

Hello everyone!

I post this entry to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

I hope you make the most of these days, find time to relax, switch off, spend time with the family, travel, and start the New Year with renewed energy!

I guess (and hope!) you all know the history of Christmas. Last year around these dates I found this digital version of the story on the Internet and I wanted to share it with you. It's so good!

I would also like you to find some time to revise English (watch films, series; check links on the blog; read, etc.). Remember also that on the 16th we have the test of Dracula. When we come back from Christmas Leah will do an activity with you to remember the main events in the book (that is what will be on the test, not specific details).

See you on the 9th January then! :)

12 Dec 2011

Future continuous and future perfect

Hello everyone!

Well, the first term seems to be coming to an end!

On our last days of class we finished correcting a few exercises that were lagging behind. We did a mock test so that you could have an idea of what to expect in the one we do tomorrow, and it also helped you learn some useful vocabulary, collocations and prepositions.

We also corrected the photocopy about future tenses. It was pretty much of a revision, but there were two new things: the future continuous and the future perfect.

Exercises 1 and 2: Future continuous I and II
Exercises 3 and 4will vs. present simple; will vs. will be +ing (future simple vs. future continuous)
Exercise 5: Future perfect


28 Nov 2011

Listening "going shopping"

Good morning everyone!

Last week we revised the past continuous: you had to write 5 times and ask your partner what s/he was doing at that time.
  • - What were you doing at 8.45 in the morning yesterday?
  • - I was going to work.
After that we watched a video from the BBC where a journalist visited Barcelona. It was an original video (not adapted), but you did the activities very well! Congratulations! :)


Reporting verbs / newspaper articles

Hello everyone!

Last week we finished correcting the handout on Reported Speech and we learnt the use of some reporting verbs. Remember that each verb is different, so you have to learn them separately.

I found this document from the University of Adelaide (Australia), where you have a wide array of verbs classified according to their meaning and whether they're weak, neutral or strong. On the second page they tell you which ones are followed by a preposition, -ing or a that-clause:
Reporting Verbs


20 Nov 2011

Strange jobs; /g/ vs. /d3/

Hello everyone!

How's the weekend going? Last week we had three days of class: Monday, Wednesday and Friday. On Monday we did a short activity to guess the meaning of some jobs (midwife, masseuse, tailor, plumber and trashman) and then we did a listening about some people with some very strange jobs! Then we did an exercise about word-formation with the suffixes -ion, -or, -ant, -er and -ment.

Finally, we listened to three different conversations where people had to apologise, give reasons and finally make a promise: I'm sorry I can't meet you tonight because I have to work, but I'll see you next Saturday. You practised these expressions with Leah on Wednesday.


Some learning tips...!


  • How many English words can I learn per day?
    10 English words or phrases per day aren’t too many, are they? Just give it a try. You will find that you can learn them in next to no time.
    So why not take a little time each day (Monday to Friday) to learn 10 new words?
    Use the weekend to revise what you have learned during the past week(s). This way you’ll enrich your English vocabulary by 50 new words per week. (That’s 200 new English words after a month!)
    Little strokes fell big oaks

    Read English texts as often as you can.
    This could be the news, short stories or novels, texts from your textbook or ego4u. Choose an interesting text that is not too difficult for you (otherwise it wouldn’t be fun).
    Don’t look up every word which is new to you – even without a dictionary you will understand a lot. Just concentrate on what you do understand and try to find out the rest by intelligent guessing. That works rather well, especially if you are interested in the topic. If you are a football fanatic for example, you probably won’t have problems understanding an English text about football. On the other hand, someone who is better in English than you but not interested in football will have more problems understanding the same text.
    Do also watch the news in your native language and try to find English news to some of the topics. Even if you don't understand every word in the English text, you will get the message as you already know what the text is about.
    Read between the lines

    English and American English

    Hi everyone,

    How's your Sunday going? Here you have the usual summary after each week, plus some extra material. On Tuesday we corrected the unit on Indirect Speech -only two exercises left to correct-, and we worked with a handout about the differences between British (BrE) and American (AmE) English. We saw two different phenomena:

    • Two words, same meaning: underground vs. subway
    • One word, different meaning: bill exists both in AmE and BrE, but the meaning is different. 
    Finally, I gave you a copy on the use of punctuation. Make sure you read it carefully at home, and, most importantly, check it if you have a doubt when writing a composition.


    15 Nov 2011

    Using monolingual and collocations dictionaries

    When we corrected the homework last week, some people "complained" that the dictionary wasn't useful because it gave the same translation for different words, e.g. gain/win - "ganar"; lose/miss - "perder".

    That happened because you were using a bilingual dictionary, which provides you with little more than a mere translation of the word. As you advance in your English, you should start using other types of dictionaries, such as a monolingual dictionary. There you have a lot more information, such as:

    • the contexts where each word is used (very helpful for the words mentioned above);
    • if a verb is transitive or intransive;
    • which is the verb pattern (is it followed by infinitive or -ing?);
    • if a particular noun is countable or uncountable.

    Monolingual dictionary
    I've been surfing the net and I've found the online version of the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary (monolingual), so now you don't have any excuse for not using it!

    Another extremely useful dictionary, especially for advanced levels, is the collocations dictionary which, as the name indicates, tells you which words collocate with which. To have an idea of what in consists of, here you have part of the entry for the word "awareness". It's taken from the Oxford Collocations Dictionary online!

    As you can see, it provides a comprehensive list of the adjectives and verbs that collocate with that word. Use this dictionary to polish your compositions and you'll see how your writing improves considerably!

    So... the next time you write a composition, make sure you combine different dictionaries, each for a different purpose!

    For more information on collocations dictionaries, please check "There is life outside wordreference!"

    14 Nov 2011

    Collocations dictionary; tipping in the US; Guy Fawkes

    Hello everyone!

    First of all, I'm awfully sorry I haven't updated the blog before, but I've been up to my eyes with work during the whole weekend. At any rate, better late than never! :)

    On Tuesday we corrected the text on pages 34 and 35, where we learnt some vocabulary and idioms (make a big deal of sth, come to terms with sth, etc). After that, in groups we worked on a handout about collocations and how to use a collocations dictionary. We saw a few examples, and you looked up quite a few words, so I hope it was useful for you!


    8 Nov 2011

    A better way to learn phrasal verbs

    Hi everyone,

    These days we've been working with phrasal verbs (or multi-word verbs). Below I post a mind-map that can help you remember them. The phrasal verbs thereby included are somewhat easy, but what I want you to see is a possible organisation for the new phrasal verbs you learn. Remember that the way you organise your vocabulary is as important as the time you spend studying it.

    See you tomorrow in class!

    6 Nov 2011

    The Statue of Liberty Anniversary - 125 years

    Lady Liberty, whose full name is “Liberty Enlightening the World,” was a gift from France to the United States on October 28th 1886, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Independence.

    "The statue has evolved in meaning since she first graced our shores 125 years ago," said David Luchsinger, superintendent of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, in a release. “She began as a symbol of friendship between France and the United States, evolved into a symbol of our great country, and is known today as an international symbol of freedom for people everywhere. This coming Friday is an opportunity to celebrate her complete legacy.”

    The Statue of Liberty was of special importance to all the immigrants sailing to the New World during the end of the 19th century. The European ships would arrive in Ellis Island, only a few miles away from the Statue of Liberty. After several months of voyage in extremely poor conditions, with people falling ill and dying around you, the sight of the Statue of Liberty made everyone jump of joy, for it meant the journey was over and a whole world of opportunities was open before your eyes.

    Seeing the Statue of Liberty meant leaving behind the famine and the political and religious persecution in Europe; in short, it meant the start of a new life.

    (A boy was screaming with joy, "wake up, wake up you can see the Statue of Liberty - you can see the Statue of Liberty"). Picture of a letter by a witness to people arriving at Ellis Island. Picture taken at Liberty Island Museum.

    On the day of Lady Liberty's 125th Anniversary, the CNN decided to interview several immigrants and recall the passage from Europe to the New World. Click here to watch the video and read the item of news. Extremely chilling!!
    To celebrate the anniversary, five webcams have been installed around its famous torch, giving people around the world outstanding views previously off-limits to even the statue’s in-person visitors. The cameras will stream live video footage 24-hours a day, seven days a week of vistas of the New York City skyline, New York Harbor, Ellis Island, Governors Island, Liberty Island and the Freedom Tower.

    Here you have a video explaining the installation of the cameras. And... wait for it! You can see the live web cameras clicking here! Absolutely amazing!

    video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

    Seeing the Statue of Liberty from the ferry sends a shiver down one's spine, especially thinking about the feelings, dreams and hopes of the people that travelled for months and months yearning for a better life. The sight of the Lady Liberty meant their effort had been worth it, and their suffering would for once and for all come to an end.

    Halloween; language learning strategies; vocabulary for films

    Good afternoon everyone!

    Here you have a summary of last week. Due to the bank holiday we didn't have class on Tuesday, but we still had two sessions: Thursday and Friday - thanks to all the people that came on Friday; I truly appreciate your effort.

    On Thursday we had an hour with Leah and we watched the Halloween video form National Geographic (this time it worked!!). I post it here in case you want to watch it again.


    3 Nov 2011

    Two documents

    Hello everyone,

    Here you have the two documents I was commenting on in class.

    The first one is about Leah's extra tutoring sessions. Make sure you write the days for Basic Level 2 in your notebook and try to make an effort to come. It's an opportunity to talk for one hour in English, so make the most of it.

    Leah’s extra tutoring sessions


    28 Oct 2011

    Banksy; useful language; "Slumdog Millionaire"; a good experience watching a film

    Hello everyone!

    Here you have the summary of week 6. On Tuesday I gave you back the corrections of your first composition (an anecdote) and the first listening I've collected this year. Then we corrected the text about "Great Entertainers" and we discussed different forms of art, until we came up with the topic of graffiti.

    I showed a BBC report about Banksy, a famous graffiti artist who allegedly comes from Bristol. We listened to the opinions of both supporters and detractors of graffiti as an art and you also had the chance to express your own personal opinions.

    Here I leave you with a video with Banksy's most important/famous creations:

    Finally, we did an activity in groups where you have to choose one cultural activity to improve the town of Roquetas. Here you have some useful language I gave you to use in your discussion:

    On Thursday you presented your conclusions to the class. There were several projects, but the most popular was the botanical garden! Apparently there is one already near IES Algazul, but nobody seemed to be very sure... Well, let's see if we can check it! :)

    We also corrected some homework and I gave you a handout with an example of a film review ("Slumdog Millionaire"). Here you have the film trailer - watch it and check how much you can understand!

    Surfing the Internet I've found this video where a girl tells us about a good experience she had watching a film. I'm sure you can recognise many of the expressions and vocabulary we saw in class.

    Finally, we celebrated Halloween with Leah!! Thanks to all the people who dressed in black and/or orange! She had prepared a National Geographic video but we had some technical problems, so I'll probably show it to you on Thursday and we'll do some activities with it.

    For homework, you have to write a film review and I'd also like you to start copying the vocabulary from Module 1 in your notebook.

    The deadline for the film review is 6th November, 23.59. The number of words should be between 200 and 250.

    And that's all for now!

    I wish you the best for this long weekend! :)

    17 Oct 2011

    Marking code for compositions; who killed the electric car?; cultural gaffes at home and abroad

    Hello everyone!

    Here you have the summary of last week. On Tuesday we corrected the text about the London Marathon and we learnt some more new vocabulary. When we finish the module, please remember to transfer all the new words to your notebook, and to classify the collocations, prepositions and phrasal verbs.

    We also did an activity to practise comparing and contrasting photographs (page 21). We listened to a monologue about the dangers of horse racing and motocross and then you did the same comparing skiing and rock-climbing. Remember to revise the useful expressions! :)

    On Thursday I gave you your compositions back with some guidelines for improvement. Here you have the marking code, in case you don't have it:


    9 Oct 2011

    Telling an anecdote; a day with the Women's Lacrosse Team

    Hi everyone!

    How's the weekend going? :)

    Last week we finished the unit about travelling and transport. We corrected the exercises on pages 8 and 9, where we saw some more collocations and a few phrasal verbs. In your vocabulary notebook, please, keep a separate section for collocations, and another one for phrasal verbs. Keeping your vocabulary organised will allow you to find things quicker and to be much more effective when you study. And if you do it from day 1, it will save you a lot of time at the end of the year.

    In 4º CAL we did an activity called "Help me! I'm a tourist!", and in 4º A we discussed several statements which used comparative structures.


    30 Sep 2011

    National Parks in Utah; New York Top 10 Attractions

    Good morning everyone!

    So week 2 has already gone by! Hasn't time flown??! On Tuesday we finished correcting the grammar quiz and I was happy to see that most of you remember what you learnt last year; well done!! :) Then we had a quick look at the book and you thought about five places you would like to visit, and five places you have no desire to visit ever. Feel free to post a comment with your ten places!!

    Finally, we listened to part of a radio programme where a man gave advice to first-time visitors to London. I can't post that listening due to copyright reasons, but here you have another one about National Parks in Utah (scroll down the page and you'll find the play button). In that page you have a multiple choice exercise. If you prefer filling gaps, then click here instead. Finally, you can have a look at the script (transcripción).


    19 Sep 2011

    Welcome to a new course at the Official Language School in Roquetas de Mar!

    Hi everyone!

    This is the blog for the Advanced Level 1 group. I intend it to be a place where we can all communicate and share ideas, impressions and materials that may be useful for all of us. We'll also try to keep a record of what we do in class every week.

    Welcome aboard, guys!! ;)

    16 May 2011

    Obama's Speech

    Good morning everyone,

    First of all, sorry for not updating the blog during the weekend, but I was busy with some other things. Anyway, better late than never!

    On Monday/Tuesday we finished off the unit about crime correcting some final exercises on indirect questions, and we continued commenting on The Canterbury Tales. After that, we devoted most part of the lesson to discussing Bin Laden's death and the effect it will have on the international sphere. We watched Obama's official announcement and we also listened to a news report. You have the video below:


    7 May 2011

    Indirect questions & question tags; "From Hell" (film)

    Hi there!

    Last week was rather short because we only had one day of class. But I think we made the most of it, didn't we? :)

    First of all, we revised some grammar and corrected some exercises related to indirect questions and question tags. Remember that indirect questions are a way of making questions more polite, introducing a formula of politeness such as do you know...? can/could you tell me...? etc. They can bit tricky because they don't have the usual structure of a question (QUASI), but the structure of a normal sentence: Sj + Verb + Complements.

    (Taken from


    30 Apr 2011

    Question tags; line dancing

    Hello guys!

    I hope you're having a great weekend, although it's apparently going to rain a lot... (fingers crossed!!).

    Last week we talked about Easter holidays and we also had a special activity with Chanelle and Lauren, who prepared a quiz about the differences between Canada and the United States. I hope you learnt a lot!!

    We also learnt a bit of line dancing. Here you have the video; I'm sure you're dying to show your family and friends! :) It's a bit old, but it's the easiest dance we could find!


    19 Apr 2011

    The Canterbury Tales

    Hello everyone,

    During these days I'd like you to read The Canterbury Tales, by Geoffrey Chaucer. I know it's a book you have to read for the Escuela, but, please, don't read it with a feeling of obligation: I want you to enjoy the book, and to appreciate the real treasure you have in your hands. It's one of the best works ever written in English, a veritable masterpiece, and don't forget that Chaucer is known as the Father of English Literature.

    Some of you might not like reading, but, trust me, The Canterbury Tales has something for everybody's taste: some stories are deep, some others are hilarious, some are a bit bold/dirty, others are a lesson of morale... And they portray a perfect picture of 15th century England.

    As I said in class, the context of the tales is that of a group of pilgrims travelling from London to Canterbury Cathedral to visit Thomas Beckett's tomb; they are people from all the levels of society, from a miller to a knight, from a squire to a priest. The original idea was for every character to tell four tales, two on the way to Canterbury and two on the way back. But, instead of 120 tales, the text ends after twenty-four tales.


    17 Apr 2011

    Jack the Ripper

    Hello everyone!

    Last week you presented your advertisements in class and, oh boy, how original they were!!! We had a potion to pass English exams, removable heels, products against baldness, hotels, holidays, language courses, books... Great job!!

    I said it in class, but I tell you here again: thanks a lot for your effort, and congratulations on your hard work and dedication :) It's a real pleasure to do things with you guys.

    On Wednesday/Thursday we talked about murders and Jack the Ripper. After the Easter holidays, we'll continue investigating the case a little bit more, and we'll watch several scenes from the film "From Hell" (2001, starring Johnny Depp). If you want to watch it during the holidays, click here for the link.

    As for grammar, we finished reported speech and we corrected some final revision exercises. Please, have a look at them during the holidays and make sure you've got the grasp of it.

    I hope you make the most of these days in the way that suits you best: spiritual, relaxed or simply normal holidays. I'll see you all again on the 25th / 26th, and we'll start our final push towards the end of the academic year!

    9 Apr 2011

    Reported speech; listening practice

    Hi! Good morning everyone!

    I hope you're all enjoying this warm, sunny weekend! :)

    Here you have the usual summary at the end of each week. We continued with the topic of shopping and we did a listening about a girl who wanted to buy a present for her father. Click here if you want to listen to it again.

    We also did an activity about "some real English sounds". I hope you all enjoyed it!! Remember to use "ummm", "uh-huh"and "huh?" in class (no more "eeees" in the oral!!), and of course, feel free to use any others! (yummy!, duh!, ouch!, oops!...).

    As far as grammar is concerned, we worked with Reported Speech. The process is actually very mechanic, but I understand it needs practice. If you need to revise the "theory", click here for a very detailed explanation. If what you want is practice, then try the following links:
    • Click here to report statements ("normal" sentences).
    • Click here and/or here to report questions.
    We also learnt the different between say and tell. You can revise the difference here, or... go straight to some exercises!

    Finally, we talked about complaining and we listened to three people complaining in three different situations: a taxi, a hotel and a restaurant. Intermediate F practised with Chanelle on Thursday; Intermediate E will do a communicative activity on Monday.

    See you all next week! :)

    2 Apr 2011

    The world of advertising

    Hello there guys!

    How's the weekend going? I hope you're all feeling more relaxed after the exams and, especially, after your marks! I'm relatively happy with the results, but I'm sure we can all do better in June :)

    The most problematic area continues being the "listening", so we'll continue doing as much practice as we can in class, but it's of the utmost importance that you also listen to English at home. Please, have a look at the labels "videos", "listening" and "words of advice"; you'll find very useful practice there. And remember that it's better to listen to 5-10 minutes of English a day, rather than spending a whole evening doing listening practice. Languages, like sport, are a matter of perseverance (constancia).

    Last week we started the topic of shopping and supermarkets. On Monday / Tuesday we talked about advertising and we discussed the following commercial from Sussex Safer Roads:


    The Simpsons

    Hello guys!

    How's the weekend going? :)

    I hope you are all more relaxed after the exams and receiving your marks (notas)! I'm very happy with the results, but I'm sure we'll all do even better in June :)

    Last week we started talking about neighbours, and we watched an episode from the Simpsons: "The Lemon of Troy" (season 6, episode 24). If you want to watch it again, you can download it here. And click here for the subtitles in English.

    On Wednesday we went to a theatre play by Andrew Marshall. Could you more or less understand him? And did you like it? I think we all had great fun seeing him dance and doing his work-out!!


    12 Mar 2011

    Irregular verbs (downloadable pdf)

    Hello everybody! :)

    Last week we finished unit 5 correcting some revision exercises and having a look at the list of irregular verbs I gave you. I post it here in case you don't have it.

    Irregular_verbs.pdf by ana_uk877884

    Los verbos irregulares tienen la dificultad de que tienen que aprenderse de memoria, pero, como vimos en clase, no son tan irregulares como parecen: muchos de ellos pueden clasificarse en grupos que presentan exactamente la misma irregularidad tanto en ortografía como en pronunciación. Veréis cómo os resulta mucho más fácil aprendéroslos así.

    On Wednesday / Tuesday we started Unit 6, and we learnt a lot of useful vocabulary about houses and rooms in a house. Then we listened to a couple visiting a house: there was something "strange" with one of the bedrooms, but they decided to rent the house! Finally, we learnt the structure there is (+sing) / there are (+plural).

    With Basic Level E we had time to see a photocopy about prepositions; Basic Level D did a dialogue in a gift shop (page 60).

    Next week we'll continue with Unit 6, and we'll revise for the exam.

    Have a nice weekend! :)

    5 Mar 2011

    The past simple / -ed pronunciation

    Good afternoon everyone,

    I'm sorry I didn't update (actualizar) the blog last week, but I didn't have Internet access during the bank holiday... So here you have the summary of weeks 21 and 22!

    First of all, we talked about travelling, and we read a story of two friends who wanted to fly to Sydney, Canada, but they arrived in a different place...! We also listened to a couple filling out a complaint form because their holidays were not good. In fact (de hecho), they were awful!

    About grammar, we saw the past simple of the verb to be, regular and irregular verbs. Click here for a very complete and clear explanation of the past simple. We did a lot of practise, but here you have some more. You can do all the exercises, or select the most interesting for you:
    Remember that in regular verbs, the pronunciation of the -ed is very important. Raquel Marín, from Basic Level E, gave me this link (thank you). I hope it helps you!

    We also read and listened to the stories of three girls that had a night out in Moscow, Beijing and Rio. Was your last night out similar to theirs? Would you like to post a comment telling us about your last night out?? :)

    Finally, last Wednesday/Thursday we read a story about a murder... Can you remember who the murderer was?? I still can't believe it!! Then, in Basic Level D we played a very funny game called "Alibi". Basic Level E will play it next week!!

    I hope you have a great weekend!

    13 Feb 2011

    /i/ vs. /i:/; possessive adjectives & pronouns; at a clothes shop

    Good morning (almost afternoon!)

    As usual, here you have a summary of last week:

    On Monday / Tuesday we continued talking about films and you read your summaries (which were very good!!). Then we did an exercise on pronunciation to learn the difference between /i/ and /i:/. For some of you this exercise was a bit difficult, so click here if you want to practise a little bit more.

    About grammar, we revised object pronouns and we learnt possessive pronouns. We worked with a photocopy to revise how to express possession in English: possessive 's, possessive adjectives and possessive pronouns. Click here and here to do some more activities related to this. Remember to visit New English File online too and to complete the workbook :)

    On Wednesday / Thursday we listened to two film critics talking about 5 different films. I know it was a bit difficult, but you did very well! So... congratulations!! :) We also learnt expressions to use in a clothes shop. Click here if you want to revise this.

    Remember to bring the book England to class on Monday / Tuesday. Thank you.

    11 Feb 2011

    "The Birthmark", by Nathaniel Hawthorne

    Hello guys,

    Just as we did with "Young Goodman Brown", we're going to work a little bit further with the second short story: "The Birthmark". I'm going to post several links below and, after reading/watching them, I'd like you to prepare the questions at the end of this entry:

    Original story: here you have the link to the original story by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Remember that it was written in the 19th century, so the English language has changed a lot since then.

    Plot: here you have a summary of the story. You can either read this document, or watch the trailer below (or both!):

    Character analysis: click here for analysis of the two characters in the story: Aylmer and his wife Georgiana.

    Symbolism: finally, here you have some information related to the main topics and symbols in the story. This might probably be the document you find most useful.

    After you read these documents (they're really short), I'd like you to think about the following questions:

    • How does the character of Georgiana evolve during the story?
    • What made her want to remove her birthmark?
    • Where should the limit between science and nature be?
    • How much would you be willing to pay for perfection?
    • Can we find representations of this story in our everyday lives today?
    We'll discuss all this next Wednesday / Thursday in class.

    Thanks beforehand for your time and effort.

    6 Feb 2011

    Consonant sounds; clothes; songs

    Hello guys!

    Last week we talked about the differences between men and women related to shopping and we learnt the pronunciation of the sound /ŋ/ - click here to revise some of the consonants we know. We learnt vocabulary about clothes and how to say what we are wearing. You can revise clothes here.

    On Wednesday / Thursday we started to talk about films. We read a summary of the film Ghost, and we learnt "object pronouns", which are used to substitute nouns and after prepositions. Revise Grammar Bank 4C and practise with the Workbook.

    Por último, dejo aquí tres canciones con un enlace al videoclip subtítulado y actividades para hacer online. Elegid la que más os guste, o haced las tres! :)

    • "1973", by James Blunt

    2 Feb 2011

    "Young Goodman Brown", by Nathaniel Hawthorne

    Hello everybody,

    I've just finished reading your comments on Hawthorne's short stories. Thank you for all your contributions. I must admit I've been surprised by the depth of some of them. Well done! I didn't know some of you were such literary critics! :)

    Once you've read the stories, reflected on them, made a comment and read your classmates' contributions, I think it's time to discuss the real meaning and symbolism of the stories in class. We'll start with "Young Goodman Brown", which is undoubtably the most obscure and difficult to understand.

    I'm going to post several links below. I want you to read the information carefully and prepare the answers to some questions: I want everybody to participate when we discuss the story in class.


    30 Jan 2011


    Hello everybody,

    Last week we corrected the First Term Revision and we started Unit 4. On Monday / Tuesday, we talked about things we can do and things we can't do; we talked about our abilities.
    • I can swim
    • I can drive a car
    • I can't take good photos
    • I can't play the guitar
    We also learnt that can and can't also mean possibility (I can go to your party on Saturday; I can't go to Madrid at the weekend) and permission (Can you open the window, please? Can you come here a minute?)

    Click here for an online exercise with the verb can.


    15 Jan 2011

    CNN news: smoking ban in Spain

    Hello everybody,

    This week we mainly focused on revising several basic aspects for the first evaluation session, which will take place next week. We also did a mock oral exam, so that you could get an idea of what is expected from you in this part of the test. Finally, we had one lesson with Chanelle, where we compared cities and their means of transport.

    With Intermediate E we had time to watch a CNN report on the new Spanish law which bans smoking (up to 1'20'' only). I post it here, with the exercises and their answers.

    (The following video is from youtube, but you can access the original item of news here).


    9 Jan 2011

    How to make your homework less work / how to improve your study habits

    Hi everyone,

    Here I post a video about how to make your homework less work , and how to improve your study habits.

    Click the play button in the center of the video to begin; click the pause button is you need to make notes at any point; click the re-wind button to go back to the start of the video and watch it again.


    Think about the suggestions made in the video and write down any tips you could use to improve your study habits.

    Task reflection:

    Do you plan to change your study habits after doing this lesson? Why/why not?
    Did you learn any new vocabulary?
    If so, what new words did you learn? Make a note of any new vocabulary you have learnt in this lesson.

    5 Jan 2011

    Stories of Suspense

    Hello guys,

    This entry is related to the first reading book of the course: Stories of Suspense, by Nathaniel Hawthorne. As we saw in class, it has three short stories:
    • "Young Goodman Brown"
    • "The Birthmark"
    • "Dr Heidegger's Experiment"
    It also has comprehension activities and two cultural sections: New England and witchcraft; The magic of alchemy.


    Preparation for the exam: oral expression & interaction; listening practice ("men are the weaker sex"; families")

    Good afternoon everyone,

    Today I've started sending off my feedback on your oral presentations (if you haven't received it yet, you'll receive it shortly, don't worry).

    Two of the most common comments are (i) that you didn't include enough information (the presentation was incomplete) and (ii) that you didn't use the grammatical structures and/or vocabulary we've seen in class.

    As you know, in two weeks' time we have our first evaluation session. As regards speaking, you will be asked to talk about one of the topics we've covered in class:
    • Food, eating habits
    • Ordering at a restaurant
    • Families and relationships
    • Stereotypes and differences between men and women
    • Money, stress, quality of life
    • Changing your city (Slow cities)
    • Comparing cities and means of transport